Baisakhi, a harvest festival, is one of
the most significant festivals of the Sikhs and
Punjabis. This festival is calculated on the
basis of the solar calendar. Hence, according to
the Gregorian calendar, every year this festival
falls either on April 13 or April 14. However,
as per the Sikh Calendar or the Nanakshahi this
festival is celebrated on the first day of the
Baisakh month, i.e. April to May. Therefore, the
festival is also popularly referred to as
Vaisakhi. This day marks a New Year in the lives
of the people.
Background of the festival
The festival of Vaisakhi has a religious importance for the Sikh community. The tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, established the foundation of the 'Order of the Pure Ones' (Panth Khalsa) in 1699 on a particular Vaisakhi Day. Therefore, festival of Vaishaki is also called as 'Khalsa Sirjana Diwas' (the birth of Khalsa).
How is it celebrated
On this auspicious day people generally wake up early in the morning to take bath in the holy river to sanctify their body and soul. Special prayer meetings are organized in the gurdwaras. At the end of the prayers and the rituals Kara Prasad (sweetened semolina) are distributed among the devotees. After that, community lunch (guru ka langar) is organized for the people in the community hall. Under the direction of Panj piaras, Baisakhi processions are also organized. Gidda, bhangra and mock duel performances make the demonstration quite vivid and joyful.
For the farmers in the rural areas, this festival is the time to enjoy their fruits. The day marks the beginning of new harvest season. It is the time to harvest the Rabi crops. In several villages many fairs are organized in this occasion.
For other Communities
The day of Baisakhi is also joyfully celebrated in the other Indian states in their own unique ways. In Buddhism it is believed that on this particular day, Lord Buddha achieved enlightenment. The day of Baisakhi coincides with Bengali New year, Naba Barsho, Kerala's Pooram Vishu, Assam's Rongali Bihu and Tamil Nadu's Puthandu.